As hospitals worldwide are faced with influxes of patients due to COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, local governments are converting unexpected places into field hospitals and treatment wards.
Cities across the world are converting major event spaces typically used for major tradeshows and conventions into alternative care facilities. Elsewhere, hotels and university dormitories are also being repurposed to house non-COVID-19 patients and to help relieve the burden on local hospitals. While using an exposition center or a dormitory as an alternate care facility may have seemed like something out of a science fiction story several months ago, today it is, unfortunately, a global reality.
One important factor to consider when repurposing spaces for healthcare facilities is air flow. The CDC and ASHRAE have rigorous guidelines for air exchanges per hour for airborne contaminant removal and ventilation specifications for healthcare facilities. So how do facility managers achieve the most optimal air flow for buildings not originally intended for healthcare use? Below are tips for consideration:
Honeywell recently helped with the conversion of the Miami Beach Convention Center into an alternative care facility in just two and a half weeks. “Our focus at the site was on the building management system including airflow and chiller management,” said Jose Simon, vice president and general manager of projects, Honeywell Building Solutions. “There are dramatically different airflow needs when you look at a large, open space like the MBCC than you would have in a traditional hospital setting. We adjusted the BMS for more fresh air exchanges and added overlays to improve overall airflow.”
Facilities that have a good base infrastructure and that can maintain directional airflow and containment are valuable potential assets as alternative care facilities.